Castle of Dreams
Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
Jalal (Hamed Behdad) wants nothing to do with the responsibilities of the past. He shows up at his ex-wife Shirin’s house (while she’s in the hospital, no less) to reclaim his old SUV but can’t make a clean break: somebody needs to pick up his son and daughter from school. Over the rest of the day, in and around that vehicle, Jalal re-encounters everything he wants to leave behind. His kids, Ali (Yuna Tadayyon) and Sara (Niousha Alipour), are the stars here, direct and inquisitive in meeting their authoritarian father’s excuses and lies, as inextricable a pair as the children in Laughton’s The Night of the Hunter.
The award-winner at this year’s Shanghai International Film Festival (the jury was led by the esteemed Nuri Bilge Ceylan), Castle of Dreams marks the first film at VIFF since 2001’s Under the Moonlight for director Reza Mirkarimi. In that film, a young man questioned his training to be a cleric, and here the ideas that bind a family together are likewise held up for examination.
"Subtly written and sensitively directed." - Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter
Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Shanghai 19